How To Remove Cactus Needles From Clothes

There is nothing worse than brushing up against a jumping cholla only to find cactus spines in your shirt. If this happens to you, the spines can be removed with tweezers, duct tape, and a bit of patience.

You don’t need to panic if a cactus needle is stuck in an article of clothing. In this article, we’re going to talk about how you can safely remove cactus spines from your clothing. When tending to a cactus plant, even the most careful owner could have an accident.

Keep reading to find out what you need to do when cacti spines get stuck in your clothing.

Place The Clothes On A Flat Surface With The Cactus Needles Up

It’s very important that you remove your clothing carefully so the spines don’t touch your skin. Once you have removed the article of clothing with the spines in it, you will need to lay it on a flat surface.

Be very careful when handling the clothing so the cactus thorns don’t prick your skin.

Try to lay the clothing out as flat as possible so you can get a good look at how many cactus spines are in the affected area.

It’s also important to take note of what kind of cactus spines are in there. While larger ones can be pulled out easily, glochids are much trickier.

Glochids are very short and almost hair-like spines. If there are many glochids in the clothing, you may need to handle it differently than you would with larger spines.

Some needles will be more difficult than others to remove, so it’s important to be patient so you don’t get hurt.

Use Tweezers To Pluck Out Each Needle One By One

Make sure you have a pair of tweezers ready because this will be the easiest way to get those cactus spines out of your clothing. However, some cacti needles may be too fine to be removed this way. 

Glochids and other hair-fine needles are likely going to cause a headache if you try to remove them with tweezers, so make sure you also have duct tape and a fine-tooth comb ready.

Use Duct Tape First

Small needles, like glochids, often get buried in the fabric which makes them difficult to remove. They can create a lot of problems for people when they are trying to remove larger cacti spines from the affected area in the clothing.

Before starting, we recommend removing some of the smaller cactus spines from the area using duct tape (or another strong adhesive).

Cover the affected area with duct tape, and then pull it off (similar to waxing your legs). This should pull out a lot of the glochids, and make it easier for you to remove larger spines.

You may need to repeat this a few times if there are many small spines in the clothing.

Use A Fine-Tooth Comb

If you only have a spine or two in your clothing, you can skip this step. However, if you have many larger spines you can remove them with a fine-tooth comb. 

When you run the comb down through the needles, it helps to pull them from the fabric. While this method can get a lot out, there will also be a spine or two leftovers.

Finish With The Tweezers

Grab a pair of tweezers to get the job complete. If there are any spines left in your clothing, remove them with tweezers. After doing this, you may need to use the duct tape one more time just in case there are any small needles left behind.

Once All The Needles Are Removed, Place Them In A Sealable Plastic Bag And Dispose Of It

You will want to make sure you clean up every last spine so they don’t hurt anyone. As you’re pulling out each spine, make sure you place them in a sealable plastic bag.

Once you have gotten every last spine out of your clothing, make sure you dispose of the plastic bag. Always keep the bag out of reach of children and pets.

After you have removed the spines and disposed of them put the clothing directly in the washing machine. Don’t put anything else in the machine with it.

Put the wash through on a normal cycle. In the case that you may not have removed every spine successfully, this should get the last of them out.

How Do You Get Cactus Needles Out Of Clothes?

Use duck tape to get cactus needles out of your clothes. Duck tape is the easiest and fastest way to remove cactus needles from most fabrics.

Generally speaking, when cactus needles are in your clothes, it would be better to throw out the fabric if there are a lot of needles.

But if the clothing piece is very expensive then it might be better to remove the cactus needles one by one. I’ve had this happen to me in the past and my t-shirt wasn’t that expensive so I threw it out.

How Do You Remove a Deep Cactus Needle?

Removing a deep cactus needle should be removed with a tweezer. Tweezers are perfect for this.

You can buy scissors if you want, but if the cactus needle is too deep then it will be hard to reach with a pair of scissors. However, it can work in some cases (if not try using duck tape).


A cactus prick can make a man cry like a baby. In the case that you get a cactus spine stuck in your clothing, you can remove it yourself safely.

You likely already have the supplies you need at home to get the job done. Once the spines are removed, make sure you dispose of them safely so nobody gets hurt.

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